Where Roads Don't End




Mental. Totally mental. There's no other word for a bloke who drops a good job (just promoted, no less!) a decent flat, an outstanding Dr. Who vid collection, and all his family and friends and prospects to go driving off into the night with Stuart Alan Jones. Especially when I'm the bloke.

I mean, I've always been the responsible one, the respectable one. The one who cleans up Stuart Alan Jones' messes and keeps him in line. Tries, anyway. Fails mostly. So what am I doing throwing off my life for a grand road trip? Makes about as much sense as finishing it with Cameron, a kind, smart, beautiful man (not to mention a fantastic shag) who loved me and bought me cars, for Stuart Alan Jones, the mate who's strung me on all our lives, who's danced with me and fought with me and laughed with me and hurt me and loves me more than anybody ever has but who will never ever shag me?

Mental. Totally absolutely mental. There's just no other word for it. If I'd given myself time to think about it I'd probably have lost it completely. So I didn't think. I just hopped in the car and did what I've always done – thrown in my lot with Stuart, no thought, no choice, not so much as a toothbrush or a change of shirt, just done it. I thought that moment was the moment that changed my life.

But it wasn't. That happened later on. That first night.


We didn't get far that night. I mean, it's one thing to roar down Canal Street, people jumping every which way, but once you get out of Manchester it's different. England's not exactly known for its superhighways. It's all little twisty roads and nobody to look impressed with a grand show of roaring engines. You can't see far, you can't drive fast, and when the shock wears off and you start feeling all odd and awkward and tired, you don't get far.

Of course part of the oddness was sitting there on the seat right next to me.

Vince Tyler – and not Vince Tyler, either. Vince Tyler's a good guy, a stable guy. The sort who pays his mum's mortgage every other month and never shows up late to work. The sort who actually sometimes rings up later when his shags leave a phone number. Well, when he ever actually cops off, which is definitely a standout event. Never for a minute the sort who'd jump in that car with me and leave it all behind. But he did it, ey? Which meant either I didn't know Vince Tyler as well as I'd always thought, or he loved me more than I'd ever dreamed.

Turned out to be both.

So we drove half the night, not talking, heads spinning. Vince probably going mental over throwing everything over for me on this crazy joyride. Me going mental over Vince doing it. I mean, here's this stranger in the seat next to me in Vince Tyler's body. A totally crazy man with fire in his eyes and a smile full of promises. I couldn't believe it.

I drove half the night with the biggest hardon of my life.


Stuart doesn't think much about things. Well, I mean he thinks about things, but not if he can help it. I'm the one who thinks all the time. About things. About us.

A long time later Stuart told me about the talk he'd had with Hazel at my half-sister's wedding – about how he loved me but didn't fancy me. I told Stuart that same night about Phil's guess, that Stuart was saving me until he had nothing else left, until he was old and lonely, and I'd still be there waiting. Cameron once told me that Stuart got a thrill out of the knowledge that I'd always pant after him like a puppy, that he liked having that power over me and that if he shagged me, he'd lose some of that power. Seems like everybody had an opinion.

Thing is, see, none of them were right. I guess they were all just thinking too much, because it's really, really simple. To Stuart, there's shagging and there's love. Once he shags a man, then it's finished. Nathan's one of just a very few who even got seconds, and strangely enough he's probably the only one who understands Stuart's rules. So if he loves someone, he can't shag them; and if he shags them, he can't love them. Simple as that. So since he loves me, always has . . . well, you get it. Can't say I blame him. If those were the only two choices, I'd choose the same. I mean, love can last forever, but a shag's just one night, at least for Stuart.

I suppose that's why we tried threesomes for a bit – so that even if we couldn't shag together, at least we could shag together, see? Oh, I suppose in an odd way it was Stuart looking out for me, too, trying to see that I got something with somebody, and didn't just sit there all sad-eyed while he copped off. And maybe it would've worked for Stuart. The threesome bit, I mean. Trouble is, it didn't work for me. I mean, nothing. I might as well have tried to shag one of the lesbians or something. Nothing. Worse than nothing. It felt bad. I mean, all the times Stuart's copped off with somebody who wasn't me, at least I didn't have to be there watching him shag them. I didn't live under his roof, watch vids on his telly, see him walk naked out of the shower every morning, and sit there watching while he gave some Thursday-night shag everything I'd ever wanted.

Funny thing is, back before we shacked up together in Stuart's flat, it never bothered me when Stuart copped off. In a way I was kind of proud of him. As Nathan would say, he's the best. I knew his shags didn't mean anything to him, so they didn't mean anything to me. Okay, Nathan was different. Because he was. Different, I mean. First of all he was only fifteen years old, see, virgin as gourmet olive oil. And that's trouble. Okay, Stuart didn't see it that way, he got an early start himself, so what's fifteen years old? Got to start somewhere. But then Nathan isn't like one of Stuart's regular shags. I mean he's there, dogging our footsteps so to speak. Just there wherever we turned around. Took me a while to realize where things stood – that Nathan didn't really want Stuart – well, all right, he wanted him, who doesn't? – but mostly he wanted to be Stuart. Just between us, I don't think Stuart realized it either for a while. That's why I drew the line on a threesome with Nathan. No thanks. Bad enough that some stranger sees me – or at least parts of me – not up for it. Nathan, now, that's just too much. But I wasn't really worried about Nathan, either, because there was still Stuart's rule. If he loves 'em, he won't shag 'em. And vice versa.

But that night, the night I threw off my whole life, I changed the rules.


I'd planned – before Vince jumped aboard with me, that is – I'd planned to move to London, which is a laugh because we did stop in London that night. Got a little room at a cheap hotel, bought a bag of Indian take-away and ate it in the room. We could've gone further, yeah, but we needed a bank before we went too far, so there wasn't much point. There's cash machines everywhere, but you can only draw so much at a time.

Money wouldn't be a problem for a while. I mean, I'm not rich, but I've done well enough for myself, and then there's all the money from the sale of my flat. Vince didn't make all that much at the supermarket, but apart from drinks and vids, who and what did Vince ever have to spend money on? Obviously not trendy shirts and sharp haircuts. So he'd probably saved up a nice little sum too. Of course, he just left his flat, didn't sell it or anything. I supposed Hazel and Bernie would clean it out, box up his stuff in storage and sell the place. I knew Vince would never ask Hazel for that money, which is fair, I suppose, and it's just like Vince, too.

So anyway we'd need a bank to draw out emergency cash, maybe buy some traveller's cheques or something, and tomorrow we'd have to buy Vince a bag and some clothes and such. I'd let Vince handle the money. Meanwhile we ate cheap Indian take-away in a cheap hotel room and tried to figure out what to say to each other. I mean, I'm sitting on the edge of the bed next to the man I've called my best friend all my life, and all I can think is I don't know this man at all.

When we got to the hotel, of course I'm the only one with any bags, so I send Vince in to book us a room while I fetch in my things. I wasn't surprised that he got one room, one bed. I mean, share a bed? He'll be sharing my toothbrush after all this curry. There was a Boots down the block, but it's half eleven, the place was closed up tighter than Nathan's virgin bum. (And doubt I'll ever forget that.) So I sat there next to this stranger I called my best mate and wondered what the bloody hell I was going to say to him when we no longer had masaman chicken and pappadums to occupy our mouths.


So there we are, stringing out our rice and curry and fidgeting in silence like a couple of virgins on their first date. And I get this prickly sensation on the back of my neck and I look over at Stuart, and our eyes meet for just a moment before Stuart turns back to his curry, and my heart jumps up into my mouth at what I see.

That glow, that Stuart Alan Jones glow in his face, his eyes. That look that means that the best-looking bloke on Canal Street, or maybe the two best-looking blokes, will be naked and moaning in Stuart's bed in less than an hour. That look that makes a man hastily brush off the shag he's been chatting up for the last fifteen minutes and make himself available. That look that turns straight men queer, if only for those hot heartless moments in Stuart Alan Jones' arms. The look that says that for one single moment they're the center of Stuart's universe. That look that promises the shag of a lifetime. And he's turning that glow, that look, at me, Vince Tyler. But then Stuart was always the only one in the world who could make me feel like I was worth something. And in that moment I feel worth everything.

And then of course the rules kick in and he turns those eyes back to his curry. But too late, I've seen the desire, I've seen the love, everything's already changed. And I've realized something important, so important, something I'm amazed I never realized before.

It's my choice.

It's always been my choice.

Why have I followed Stuart my whole life? Because I chose to wait for him, hope for him, bloody hell, live for him. Why did I finish it with Cameron? Because I chose the man I loved over the man who loved me. Why did I move into Stuart's flat? Because he asked – almost begged – me to. Why did I come back to Stuart after he'd hurt me so bad that I walked right out of his life – twice? Because he needed me, because I chose to, because in his own peculiar way he asked me to. All right, we had a little help from Nathan and a little help from Hazel, but somehow, some way it's still always been me in charge and Stuart trying, trying, trying to prove it wasn't so. He couldn't even walk out of my life. He had to push me to do it. So here I am again while Stuart wrestles with his rules, shag or love, shag or love, and I don't know, maybe he's waiting for me to choose for us both.

So I do.

I choose to change the rules.


Well finally we finish up the food and then there's no more stalling. I bundle up the rubbish and hand Vince my overnight kit, toothbrush and all.

"You can have it first," I say. "I'll dump this out back, don't want the smell in here all night."

"Thanks." Vince has the strangest expression on his face, like he just figured something out for the first time and he's not quite sure what to make of whatever he's figured out, but he takes the bag and I take the rubbish and we go our separate ways. I make it back to the room before he does and wait, and he comes back in a few, and now I take the bag down the hall to the loo.

And stand there, toothbrush in my mouth, foam on my lips, staring at my reflection in the mirror.

What am I doing? What the bloody hell am I doing? What am I doing leaving Manchester, what am I doing hitting the open road instead of picking up a new job and a new flat in London, what am I doing here in this hotel with Vince Tyler? I wanted to get the hell away from Canal Street and all the little dramas, and now suddenly I has turned into we and I don't know what the hell we are doing. Vince has just given up his whole little world for me and I'm totally lost here, like some drowning swimmer sinking deeper into the water while his friend tries to climb up on his shoulders.

And where do I think we're going? Let me tell you something about roads: Roads end. All roads end. Some end in dead ends; those are the merciful ones, just quietly end, full stop. Some peter out and peter out to gravel and dirt and then awful muddy ruts where if you don't back up quick enough you're bogged down before you know it. Some roads go on until they drop off the edge of the world, right into the sea, SPLASSSSSSH and you're gone, nothing but a memory left.

And let me tell you something else about roads. Sometimes they intersect, meet up just the once and then go their separate ways, and as long as you watch both ways before you go charging into the intersection you're all right. Other roads run parallel forever, sometimes close by, and never meet at all. That's your choices, such as they are. Either they run perpendicular and meet just the once, or they run parallel and never touch at all. So you see my point.

And either way, roads end.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking about going back, which I suppose makes me a totally selfish twat once more because unlike Vince I've got nothing to go back to. Oh, I suppose the firm would take me back quick enough, and I could find another flat. There's Romy and Alfred and responsibility. There's my parents who tactfully ask me not to show up at parties. There's Canal Street where I can watch Nathan rise as I fade. No thanks. No bloody thanks. So I'm running, all right, and once more I'm pulling Vince along after me, and I know, I know what a shit that makes me, all right? But better a shit and a twat and a selfish fuck and whatever else than being alone. Alone isn't sitting in the flat all night without a shag and with nothing to do but watch porn. Alone isn't sitting at a bar table and looking around and realizing that everybody's younger than me. Alone isn't watching Nathan cop off with the man I was just going to make a try for. Alone was the days I spent looking at my mobile phone and knowing when it rang that it wasn't Vince Tyler dialing up to talk about gossip at the store or the disaster story of his latest attempt to cop off. Alone was picking up that phone a dozen times a day and catching myself in the middle of ringing him up. Alone was sitting in a bar drinking and joking with nobody. Alone was watching him across a room smiling at Cameron, and suddenly feeling all the magic go out of me.

I can't do that again. In Manchester or London or Timbuktu, I've got no choice but to drag along my trusty sidekick, selfish twat that I am, soak up all his friendship and hope and love and smiles when I can't even give him a shag in return. But there it is, that's Stuart Alan Jones for you and I never said it was a pretty picture.

So I brush my teeth and wash up, and hopefully by the time I get back he'll already be in bed sound asleep. That way I won't have to look at those eyes and think about what I'm doing to him, or not doing to him, as the case may be. We won't have to talk about anything, I won't have to hurt him, and I can feel a little less like a total shit, maybe enough to get some sleep, and maybe in the morning by some miracle I'll think of something.

But no such luck. When I open the door there he is, waiting for me, sitting on the edge of the bed in his boxers – horrible ugly boxers, too; wonder if I can drop them in the rubbish bin tomorrow when he has to borrow a pair of mine? – and the strangest little smile on his face, not that hopeful puppy- dog one but kind of wondering and happy.

"So … which side do you want?" he says, a little shyly but in this odd tone, like he's figured something out and is just giving it a test. I don't know what's up, but I don't want to fuck with it tonight, that's for sure, so I shrug and shake my head.

"Doesn't matter," I say, trying to sound tired, trying to say 'let's not get into this tonight' without having to say it. "Whichever you don't want."

And by God if his smile doesn't get bigger, so I guess that was the right answer, who knows. I don't know what's going on and I don't want to try to figure it out – I don't want a row this late, don't want to see the hurt in his eyes when something cruel spills out of my mouth like an overflowing teacup.

So I take off my robe and drape it over the back of the chair, turn around to stow my things back in my bag, and that's when it happens.

I hear Vince get up, but I don't hear the covers sliding down, and a second later warm arms slide around me from behind, warm arms stronger than I'd have thought, and warm moist breath fans my shoulder and the back of my neck.

"Vince, don't," I whisper, but I don't mean it because his arms feel good and his chest feels firm and warm behind me, and I have this crazy urge to lean on him, just to lean back and let him hold me.

"Vince, don't," I say again, I'm such a bloody liar, but after all it's only half a lie. I mean, I'm a selfish twat but I don't want to hurt him again. Really. I try to make my voice firmer. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" As if I didn't know.

And then his hands go around my wrists and for a moment I'm too startled to resist, and he raises my arms up and presses my hands against the wall, holds them there with his hands clasped around my wrists. And before I can say or do anything his mouth is hot and wet on the back of my neck, his tongue on my skin, and what started in my brain as "Vince, what the bloody hell – " comes out of my mouth as a long, low moan.

"Shhhh, it's all right," Vince whispers in my ear, and I shiver as his warm breath curls into my ear. "It's all right, Stuart, I've got you."

And he has, that's the crazy thing, he's got me, his hands around my wrists holding my hands against the wall, his mouth against my neck and shoulders, hot wet sucking kisses, and I swear to God those hands and that mouth are all that's holding me up. I think if he took them away I'd just fall into a heap on the floor like a puppet with its strings cut.

I can't believe this. Vince Tyler is seducing me.

And suddenly, just like that, this road has definitely taking a very strange turn.


I don't believe this. I can't believe this. I'm holding Stuart Alan Jones. I'm tasting Stuart Alan Jones. The man I've loved for as long as I can remember. My best friend. I'm holding him, I'm tasting him, I'm hearing him moan because of what I'm doing to him.

His taste in my mouth. It's like a drug, something fast and hard and dangerous. He's just washed, but his skin tastes like sweat and I can't get enough of it. I lick the back of his neck, the top of his shoulder. I suck at his skin, just wanting more, more, more. His heart is pounding hard, I can feel it through his back, and my God he's pressing back against me. I know he can feel how hard I am, how could he not, it's pushing right against his bum, but that apparently doesn't bother him.

I'm doing it. I'm seducing Stuart Alan Jones. I'm choosing.

I hold his wrists just a moment longer, to be sure he knows to stay still, then slowly release them. The feel of his skin pressing against mine, my God, it's driving me mad and my hands want more of it. I'm still kissing his neck, his back, his shoulders, but my hands have their own ideas and they're drunk on his skin, sliding up his arms, over his shoulders, then down around his chest. He's sweating now, sex sweat, and the skin of his chest is wet silk. My palms slide over his nipples, they're up, hard as little bullets and he moans again when I rub over them, and there's no doubt about it now, he's grinding back against me.

I like the way he moans, so I rub over his nipples again, slower this time, playing with my fingertips, and my other hand slides down his belly to his boxers, and there I encounter the biggest surprise I've had since Stuart gave me a K9 robot for my birthday.

There's something long and hard down those boxers and it's not a bottle of lager.

He wants me. He really does. Stuart Alan Jones wants me.

That thought is all I need. I push his boxers down, one hand and then one bare foot, and oh my God he's beautiful, can't see the front right now but what I can see is just so incredibly beautiful. I don't think he even notices his boxers are gone until I wrap my fingers around his cock, and then he turns around and oh my God he's in my arms and I'm in his and the taste of his mouth is sweeter than wine.

I try to pull him backwards toward the bed and we both fall on it, and his leg is right in my crotch and for a second it hurts like hell. I hardly notice it because his tongue is in my mouth and my hands are on his bottom and we both just moan into each other's mouth and keep going. We roll around a bit and then I'm on top of him. And finally I get to see the rest of him and it's just as beautiful as I could dream, but I wasn't done with the back, so I pull away and back off just a bit and roll him over on his belly, and he lets me, he lets me, and I lick and suck and nibble my way down his spine.

Stuart and I have never touched each other – well, not that way – since half a wank back in our Barry Sheen days, but you don't spend more than sixteen years with a mate and not find out at least a bit of what he likes. In Stuart's case, that's just about everything, so I figure I'm safe. And even if I haven't had probably a hundredth of his experience I'm hoping I can make up for it in enthusiasm, because suddenly I've got ambition. For most of my life it's been my biggest wish for Stuart Alan Jones to want me. To desire me. And suddenly I want even more than that. I want to drive Stuart Alan Jones insane with desire for me. And I'm working my way down Stuart's spine one vertebra at a time, and the lower I go the louder he gets, and yeah, by now I've got the idea all right, so I part the cheeks I've dreamed about since I was fourteen and dive right in.

And Stuart breaks the sound barrier.


If you'd told me two years ago or two months ago or two days ago or two hours ago that I'd be lying on this bed with Vince Tyler rimming me into insanity, I would've laughed myself silly. I mean, for one thing, Vince Tyler, the mate I swore I'd never shag, and he's got me here ready to beg on my knees if I could get on my knees.

And for another thing, who'd have ever guessed that Vince Tyler, the quiet guy who could never seem to cop off, knew how to do such amazing things with his tongue? I couldn't put two words together if you paid me. So what do I do? What the bloody hell do you think? I spread wide, push back against that magic mouth, and scream into the pillows.

He stops before I can come, which means I don't get to enjoy the wildest tongue ride of my life for nearly long enough, and he must've flipped me back over because suddenly I'm staring up at the ceiling and Vince is nipping OH MY GOD right THERE where it drives me absolutely mad, just above my hipbone, and someday I'm definitely going to torture out of him how he learned about THAT. But that's going to have to wait because right now he's torturing me with that tongue on my nipple, no nipping now, just that hot wet tongue and how the HELL did he find out how sensitive those are? And he nips his way down my stomach and then that tongue's dipping into my navel, and forget all the other questions, there's just one question burning in my mind now, and that is: When the hell did I completely lose control of this?

But I don't know the answer and Vince has better things to do with his mouth, namely swallowing my cock whole. And I'm too completely shocked and shaken and turned around and worked up, and FUCK I scream and shoot off in his mouth in bloody seconds like a horny teenager, shit that's embarrassing, but Vince only smiles. Well, when he finally lets my cock go, that is.

And then I feel something that makes my eyes jerk open again, slick warm fingers between my cheeks, and if I had the breath I'd laugh – tricky bastard found the emergency tube of lube in my kit and sneaked it out, must have done unless he just happened to be carrying a tube around in his pocket when he hopped in my car! And if I had the breath I'd ask Vince what the hell he thinks he's doing, only there's not much doubt of that, now, is there? And he's looking at me and there's this incredible glow in his eyes, I've never seen anything like it ever, and there's just a hint of worry there too as if he's waiting for me to stop him. And I haven't got the breath or the wit or the will to do anything but pant and smile and hope he can read my mind, because even if I could say something, it would definitely be something I'd be embarrassed about later, something incredibly stupid and undignified.

Something like "Please!"


Oh my God. Oh my God. I'm going into Stuart Alan Jones. I'm going to fuck Stuart. His legs are heavy and hot over my shoulders, and it's a little awkward and I've hardly ever done it like this – all right, it's seldom enough I've done it at all, all right? But he liked my fingers, and I look down and almost come as I watch myself sliding into him. And he looks into my eyes and gives me this most incredible smile, a smile that lights up that cheap little room brighter than the stage at Babylon on Thursday night. And without a word I know what he wants, and I scoot forward, canting his hips up and sliding a pillow under so he can look too, see me moving in and out of him, and we both moan with the sight and the feel of it.

I move slowly at first, experimenting with the angle until I get it just right. I know he's feeling it right, he cries out and great beads of sweat break out on his skin, and I bend down to taste, and bending sends me deep into him – God he's limber, I could never ever get my legs like that – and he cries out again. And there's that mouth again, that mouth, and I'm drunk on it as I move inside him, still slow and easy, and his hands are trembling as his fingers slide through my hair. Stuart's hard again already – God, and he's worried about getting old? Nathan probably couldn't get it up again that fast – he's moving with me as easily and perfectly as if we rehearsed this in advance. And maybe we did. Maybe almost twenty years of friendship have all been a rehearsal for this day, this bed, this moment.

Our mouths are locked tight and we drink down each other's whimpers and moans. The strange thing is that Stuart hasn't closed his eyes, which I notice because I haven't either, and my God are those tears? I know I'm crying, I knew I would but Stuart Alan Jones with tears in his eyes? It's too much. I don't know, maybe they're goodbye tears, maybe he thinks this is a one off and he'll try to slip away tomorrow while I'm still asleep, but now I know better. Now I know for certain I was right, that this is right, and Stuart's going to have the surprise of his life when he finally figures it out.

I'm moving faster now, harder, don't know when that happened but I know how, because Stuart's giving me these subtle little hints, pulling me in hard with his legs as his hips rock up against me, fingers digging into the back of my neck groaning "More, damn you!" in my ears. I couldn't refuse if I wanted to, and if this isn't too rough for him it certainly isn't for me, I'm in heaven and I want it to last forever.

It doesn't, of course. Unrequited love, and even requited love, I'm starting to learn, might last forever, but even the shag of a lifetime has a built-in expiry date and we're fast coming up on it. It's too good, too intense, every stroke is like coming and starting all over again, a thousand shags in one. I've slowed it down a bit, trying to draw it out a little longer, just a little longer, and Stuart doesn't argue, he's just chanting my name over and over and over in my ear like it's the only word he can remember. And I'm bloody glad he's reminding me what my name is because he's so hot and slick and tight around me, his taste is in my mouth and his voice is in my ear and his smell in my nose and I've certainly forgotten who I am. But I remember Stuart's name, yes indeed I do, and I scream it into his mouth as I come. He's coming too, even if the contractions weren't strong enough to almost hurt it would be hard to miss the hot spurts against my belly, and he's coming so hard his throat's locked up, not making a sound, just drinking down my scream and shuddering against me.

I think I actually grey out for a moment, no surprise there, because next thing I know I'm slumped over on top of Stuart, glued to him with spunk and sweat, both of us gasping for breath, and somebody in the room upstairs is pounding on the floor and cursing. And I look at Stuart and Stuart looks at me, both of us with tears running down our cheeks, and suddenly we're laughing fit to split, and the laughter's almost better than the shagging.



Laughter after a great fuck. Can't beat it, at least when you've got the breath for it. Laughter after a great fuck with Vince – well, life just doesn't get much better than that. At least until the next go- round.

If there is a next go-round. I mean, what the hell do we do now? We've shagged. Me and Vince Tyler, we've shagged. I still can't believe it. I mean, how the hell did that happen? It just … happened.

Well, actually Vince happened. And Vince takes over again, kisses me softly, lips, nose, eyelids, forehead, and crawls out of bed. He grabs my robe, getting spunk all over it no doubt, and trots off down the hall. He comes back rather cleaner than me, warm wet towel in hand, and he washes me off without a word, just that same crazy I-know-something-you-don't smile.

That's it, I'm going mental.

I stretch, long and slow, and watch him watch me.

"I want a shower," I complain.

Vince only grins.

"Then we should've paid the extra ten quid for en suite," he says. "Shower's down the hall and we've only got the one robe."

"Whose fault is that?" I say, raising my eyebrows.

"Yours, for trying to run out on me, and then for tearing off out of town so fast I didn't even have time to pack a bag," Vince says good-naturedly.

Suddenly it's infuriating and even a little frightening, just how much he's got all this in hand, and I jump out of bed and grab the robe.

"I'll take the first shower," I say, and dash out of the room before I can say something really hurtful.

It's half one now, and I'm sure the folk in the other rooms aren't thrilled that I'm running the shower now, but they can fuck off. I almost hate to wash Vince's scent off me. I can still feel him all over me, and inside too, of course. I'll feel him every time I sit tomorrow, and I'm glad in case I never feel him again.

Who'd have thought he'd be so wild, so sweet, so good? Not me, never in a million years. I mean, this is Vince who cops off even less than Phil did, and that's saying something.

And now what? What the hell do I say? What the hell do I do?

I just begin to consider that little problem when, I don't believe it, Vince's arms come around me again from behind.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I demand, turning around to confront the very naked Vince Tyler who's climbed into the shower with me, and I'm telling you it's a tight fit.

"Walked on down in my boxers," Vince says cheerfully. I'm impressed. I'd have done it – stark naked if it came to that – but I never dreamed Vince would. "Give me the soap, I'll do your back."

"And you haven't already?" I laugh, but I hand it over, happy that for now I don't have to think about how to leave him. He's as good in the shower as he was in bed, knows where to scrub hard and where to be gentle, and every so often he leans over and presses a soft kiss to whatever part of me he happens to be washing at the time.

"Won't work," I say, turning around and taking the soap out of his hand.

"Hmmm?" His eyes are bright, no worry at all.

"Won't work," I repeat. "I'm done in, you're not getting another shag out of me tonight."

Vince grins and hands me the flannel. Now it's all right washing off his scent because he's there, and strangely it actually feels all right together, not awkward or sad, and not a hint of that old uncomfortable "All right, I've had you, now fuck off" feeling I generally get after. Vince doesn't want to get back into his old boxers and I can smell that the robe's had it, so we walk back just as we are, not even a towel, grinning like madmen at each other. And when we climb into bed, it's the strangest thing, Vince doesn't even say a word, just pulls me over there to him and wraps me up in those warm arms.

I like to think I'm fairly decent to my shags, let them sleep over instead of expecting them to get home God knows how in the middle of the night, but I've never been the sort to cuddle afterwards. But I pegged Vince for a cuddler and I'm right, and it's okay, really. It feels better than I'd have thought, probably because I'm dead tired. Anyway, I'm out before I know it.

I sleep in more than I meant to; it's after eight when I wake up. I'm warm, I'm comfortable, I've definitely got that well-shagged feel, for once without the hangover that generally goes with it, and it takes me only a moment or two before memory catches up.


I shagged Vince. Or, more like, Vince shagged me.

As Vince would say, oh my God.

I should get up, get dressed, grab my bags and go. I could be well away before Vince wakes up. I should do it. I should. Roads end. All roads end, and the quick dead ends are by far the kindest. I know Vince, he'll let it peter out to the deepest roughest ruts. I don't want to do that to him, I don't want to do it to me.

But I'm still lying here just looking at him.

His arms are warm and his hair's all tousled and he's smiling slightly in his sleep. He may be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. I want him, I love him, and God help me, now I've had him – or rather, he's had me.

A shag's a shag, and a mate's a mate. I don't do boyfriends, ask anyone – especially Vince. It's a formula for disaster. Take a perfectly good friendship and fuck with it by shagging, or vice versa, and there you go. You destroy it. See, once you've started down that road, you can't go back. Those are the roads that end in fire and crumpled metal and blood all over the place. God, I didn't want to do that to Vince, and I didn't want to do it to me.

See, the funny thing is, Cameron had it all backwards. He said there was no Vince, that Vince would never be anybody as long as he was tagging along after me. But that's all wrong. Vince has always been Vince, the good friend, the loving man who watches Dr. Who and wears awful shirts and cheap ties and takes care of everybody around him. It's Stuart Alan Jones who's the lie. It's me who's nothing without Vince. Trust me, I know. I've tried it – twice. Those aren't times I like to remember. Vince is what keeps the heart and soul alive inside me when I've done my level best to destroy them both.

And now here he is, and here we are. I always thought if this happened I'd run as if someone had set fire to my short hairs, but here I am, lying here in bed with him watching him sleep. And he's beautiful, and he held me last night. All night long, he held me.

And I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but I'm not running. Crazy thing is, I'm not even afraid. I should be packing my bags, but I'm not. Instead I'm kissing that strong warm chest where I pillowed my head all night, soft little kisses down his chest and across his stomach. He's not slender like me nor lardy like Phil was; he's like a good bed, solid and firm and warm, a nice comfortable place to play. He's not awake yet, but he feels my kisses, makes little murmuring sounds in his sleep and arches up toward my mouth.

His cock is like the rest of him, firm and strong and beautiful, a nice surprise under all those awful clothes he wears. He moans softly when I run my tongue up the creases of his thighs, and his fingers card restlessly through my hair – he's awake now. It's strange, I never consciously decided we were going to shag this morning, but here I am. I suppose it doesn't matter really; the damage is done, isn't it?

And he tastes good, and he feels good, and it feels so good to be doing this to him. His whole body answers to my mouth the way flowers open to the sunlight, and I decide I'm going to show him he's not the only one with a tricky tongue. He lets me do it, encourages me even; when I take him in my mouth he whispers my name like a prayer.

I've always loved this, the taste of a man, and I'm good at it – I'm pretty much good at everything, and right now I want to give Vince my best. He whimpers when I take him all the way in, and moans when I slide back up, my tongue working all up the sensitive underside to the head, and when I probe the slit in the tip he almost tears the sheets. But he doesn't let me finish him off, he gently pulls my head away, stroking my hair.

"I want you to fuck me," he says in a low voice. It's not a request, and I like it that it's not, that he just tells me on his own what he wants. I like that a lot. Do I want to fuck him? Hell, does Prince Charles have buck teeth? I like the idea so much I damn near come on the sheets.

I nod and fumble around for the lube, don't know where he put it last night (well, apart from the obvious), and he presses it into my hand. I wasn't quite done showing him just how good I am with my mouth, but suddenly I want to be inside him more than anything, and saving something for the next time means there's going to be a next time, and suddenly I like that idea a lot too.

I'm probably a little hasty with my fingers – I know I should take more time with him, I know he doesn't get it much, but suddenly I'm eager.

"How d'you like it?" I ask him softly, wanting to give him that much – didn't much matter to me last night, I like it up, down, sideways or backwards.

He looks at me and smiles and rolls on his side.

"Like this," he murmurs, and I'm a little disappointed; I wanted to see his face. Maybe he can tell, because he adds, "We can change in a bit, all right? But I want it slow."

"Yes, all right." I spoon in behind him and spend a little more time lubing him up before I slide in slowly. Vince gasps my name, and halfway in I pause, hook my arm under his knee and pull his leg up, helping him open up more; God, he's tight, and I know I've got to be hurting him a little, but he doesn't complain, just drops his head back against my shoulder and lets me see the happiness in his eyes. I give him a moment to relax again and press slowly in. It's like pushing into an inferno, but the heat's only half physical; there's so much love in his eyes that it's burning me up from the inside out.

I move slowly like he wants it; slow's nice in the morning especially. And when he relaxes a bit I let go of his leg and reach around to stroke him. He likes that, almost purrs, pushing back against me, then forward into my hand, then back again. I nibble on the side of his neck, his ear, his shoulder, and he likes that too, tilting his head back to give me access. This is incredible, God I'm loving it, I've probably shagged a thousand men and it's never felt like this ever. And suddenly feeling it isn't enough, I have to see him, have to see somehow that I'm doing to him what he's doing to me.

"Can we – I want to see your face," I breathe in his ear, and damn, he's done it again, got me begging for what I want. But the big bright smile he gives me when he nods is more than enough in exchange. I pull out slowly, as gently as I can, waiting to see what Vince wants, and he turns over on his back. And there are those eyes again, eyes that shine bright enough to burn, and he spreads his legs and opens his arms and just like that, I'm lost.

Just a moment to slide gently back inside him and thank God now it's my turn to impress Vince. Slow and easy, just like he likes it, because I could go on forever like this, and if it makes him happy by God I will. And the tight heat of his body and the strong warmth of his arms are driving me mad, but they're nothing next to that mouth that fastens on mine, and we're breathing our moans back and forth as we rock together, his legs clasping my sides.

"Stuart." Vince's voice is a deep husky whisper that sends chills down my spine. "Harder – now – "


"Oh my God – yes – like that, Stuart, so good – "

"Oh, yes – "

"Stuart?" Vince is gasping now. We're both getting close.


"Say them again for me."

"Eh?" That's enough to pull me back from the edge momentarily, just the confusion of it. "What?"

"The – seven – Dr. Who – actors. Say them again?"

I groan; all the blood's gone from my brain down to fill up my cock. Thank God for all those hours watching vids.

"Ahhh – William Hartnell."

"Yeah – oh – harder."

"Patrick Troughton."

"There, Stuart, there – just like that, oh God – "

"Tom Baker."

"More – don't stop – "

"Uh – uh – Peter Davison."

"Yes, oh yes – "

"Colin Baker."

"Oh my God, Stuart – "

"Syl – Ahhhhh! Sylvester – uh – ahhh – McCoy!"

"OH. MY. GOD!!!!!!"

And thank God that's all of them and I don't have to talk anymore because my mouth is too busy biting Vince's shoulder to keep from screaming the roof down, because he's coming, I'm coming, that's it, and we shudder together and shake the bed for a good long moment before we both collapse, completely done in.

For a long time we can't do anything but lie there and gasp for air, and it's a good while before I can fit two thoughts together inside my head, but a nagging little idea keeps coming up inside my head and finally I manage to speak.

"Why in the world did you want that?"

Vince gives me a confused look and kisses the side of my neck, licking off the sweat there. It makes me shiver all over again.

"Beg your pardon?"

Only Vince Tyler, lying sweaty and spunky and naked with my cock still inside him, could possibly think of saying 'Beg your pardon'.

"I mean the Dr. Whos. Why the Dr. Whos? Was that like thinking of rugby scores or something?"

Vince snorts; I've startled him. My cock slips free and he winces a little. I knew he'd be at least a little sore. I bet it's been a long time. Poor guy goes months between shags sometimes.

"No." Vince clears his throat. "You remember that time we had lunch? I mean, you know, after the birthday thing, and you left the robot on my car?"

Nathan left the K9 robot on the car, but I'm not about to give up credit for such a grand gesture.

"Yeah. I remember."

"You said, you know, that pretty soon Cameron would know them all by heart. All the Dr. Who actors. And you named them all off, one after the other, bang bang bang." Vince runs his fingers through my hair. "You never even liked Dr. Who. But you knew them all. And you know what? The night I finished it with Cameron, I asked him to name them, and he didn't know them. I mean, he knew Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker and that was it."

Good God, I've fucked him silly. He's gone totally mental on me.

"All riiiiight – you finished him because he didn't know the Dr. Who actors?"

"In a way." Vince smiled. "That's when I knew – really knew, you know – that you loved me for me. Not for some image you dreamed up about me, or what you thought I might be someday, or what you could make me. Just for me. Plain old Vince Tyler and my little world that you said was good enough for you. You loved me for me, even if you didn't love me exactly the way I wanted you to, and Cameron loved me for someone else. And looking back on that day at lunch, I thought, you know, I'd never hope to hear somebody find better words to tell me they loved me."

"Oh." Truly, truly mental, and I'm ridiculously pleased. I do love him, there's no secret about that. That's never been an issue. "Well, thank God Paul McGann didn't count. Don't think I could've lasted another second to say it."

Vince is still staring into my eyes, and his smile tells me I'm grinning this idiot grin that I get when I'm ridiculously pleased. Not to mention shagged silly.

"We're a mess," he says, raising his head to kiss me softly. "Think we'll scandalize the whole place if we march down to the shower naked again?"

"Probably." He's assumed we're going to shower together again, and strangely I don't feel like disabusing him of the notion. "Why don't you take my robe, it's already spunky, and I'll take the sheet."

Now Vince looks ridiculously pleased. He gets up and pulls on my robe.

"What time is it?"

"Mmm. Late. After nine."

Vince sighs.

"So much for an early start."

"Doesn't matter." And strangely it doesn't. "We've got to go to the bank and buy you some clothes and things anyway. We could stay another night." I can't believe I said that, but now I'm glad I thought of it.

"Really?" Vince looks startled but pleased.

"Why not?" I laugh. "Anyway, my robe could stand washing."


I can't believe I'm laughing and joking with Stuart the morning after. Part of me can still hardly believe I'm with Stuart the morning after. But it's not awkward or uncomfortable and he's not even acting jumpy. Well, from what I can see, because he's behind me scrubbing my back.

We find a place down the street where we can still get breakfast even though the bangers are dead cold. We sit and eat and look over a map, puzzling over where to go next after London. I'm just thrilled there's going to be a 'next after London.' Stuart's gone all quiet over the food, but it's not a 'maybe I should get the hell out of here' quiet, just a sort of smiling, thinking quiet. At last he pokes his eggs around and speaks.

"Vince … you ever hear of a road that doesn't end?"

Now what the hell is this? I think maybe Stuart took my little speech on Canal Street a bit too seriously. I think about it for a minute.

"Ummm … maybe in the States," I say cautiously. "It's such a big country. You know, out in the west they've got roads that go on for ages in a straight line? I mean, straight as a sunbeam, you can drive for hours in one direction."

"Yeah, but it ends somewhere, doesn't it?"

"Well, it's all in how you look at it, isn't it?" I tell him. "Ever see one of those western movies where the hero rides off into the sunset at the end? I mean, he doesn't really ride into the sun, he rides off along the ground like anybody, but it looks like he does."

Stuart perplexed now.

"So what's that got to do with it?"

"Well, it's the same thing, sort of," I say. "I mean, when Christopher Columbus sailed off, everybody thought he'd drop right off the edge of the world. But there isn't an edge of the world, it's just that if you go far enough you drop under the curve of the earth and they can't see you. So to them, he did drop off the edge of the world, but for him it was just sailing on and on and on, see?"

"Oh." Now Stuart looks thoughtful again. "But even in the States, roads don't go that far, do they? I mean, to drop below the curve of the world."

"I dunno, maybe." So what's all this guff about roads? "But, I mean, take some dumpy little road like this." I point on the map. "It's nothing, just a little one-lane road. But see, it merges right onto this big highway, and that goes on for ages."

Stuart's eyebrows jump way up and he looks pleased.

"They merge," he repeated. "Hadn't thought of that one."

I don't remember him being this mental the morning after a shag before. Then again, his shags were always somebody else. I can go along with that.

"So, see, it's all in how you look at it. Does this little road end, or do they both just go on and on and on together?" I take the last piece of cold toast.

Stuart looks pleased and murmurs something that sounds like "I hope so."

We start walking back to the hotel for the car.

"So where d'you want to go next?" Stuart asks.

He's asking me?

"Ummm … the States?" I suggest. Now that he's got me thinking about the old west, I'm interested. I mean, there's the desert, the Grand Canyon …

Stuart laughs.

"We can't drive there," he reminds me.

"We could store the car," I tell him. "Fly over and rent another."

Stuart looks ridiculously pleased all over again.

"We could," he agrees. "Where there's no roads, we can just take a plane and just keep going."

"Well, sure." I'm shocked as hell; he actually seems to be considering it. I get a second surprise; he tosses something at me, and I catch the keys. "You want me to drive?"

"For now," Stuart says, grinning from ear to ear. "Why should I drive all the time? I think it's your turn for a while."

"It is?" Somehow I think he's talking about something besides cars now, and I grin too. "So … you like the way I drive?"

Stuart's eyes sparkle wickedly.

"I do, yeah. Hey, remember, I said no passengers on this ride. You've got to do your share of the driving."

I smile to tell him I know what he means.

"I can do that," I tell him.


We get in the car and Vince pulls out into the road. Just a little road, but it goes somewhere. Hopefully somewhere good.

Roads end. Or maybe they just change. Or maybe they merge. Who knows? And who cares? If we run out of road, by God, we'll take a plane.

I scoot over closer to Vince. God, I love him.

"Want to hear 'em again?" I suggest.

"Hear what?" Vince asks, watching the road ahead.

"William Hartnell." I slide my hand up his thigh.

Vince grins even as he blushes bright red.

"My God, Stuart, you can't!"

"Patrick Troughton."

"Stuart, I love you too, but – "

"Tom Baker."

"Stuart, my God, you can't be serious!"

"Peter Davison."


"Colin Baker."

"Oh – my – GOD!"

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